How to Motivate Employees During a Crisis

Effective Ways to Motivate Employees


Awarding employees with either an end of the year or a holiday bonus is common practice in a variety of industries. In 2019, nearly 20% of private industry employees took home a monetary bonus in addition to their annual salaries.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic having an undeniable economical effect on 2020 finances, many CEOs are wondering if there’s an alternative to bonuses. In other words, can you motivate employees in a sustainable way that goes beyond short term monetary incentives?


Here is how you do it

1. Get specific

A LinkedIn study found that 70% of employees would work harder if their efforts are recognized by management. If you find yourself thinking about how an employee handled a stressful situation with poise or temporarily took on extra work while a colleague was out sick, verbally express your appreciation. Be specific and genuine when letting employees know you appreciate their efforts and commitment to the company.


2. Ask for incentive suggestions

You’re not obligated to share company finances with employees. But when a pandemic or other obvious hurdle is hitting your industry, employees are more likely to know budgets will be affected (both the company’s and their own). This means they may already be thinking of unique incentive ideas. Don’t be afraid to ask team members for suggestions so you can continue to motivate and reward. Team incentive programs can increase performance by 45%, so consider offering creative rewards instead of nixing them altogether.


3. Learn more about your team

If the company is experiencing a bit of downtime, now’s the perfect opportunity for everyone, both employees and management, to get to know each other on a deeper level. Host a virtual office party or wrap up a one-on-one meeting a bit early to learn more about a team member’s family and hobbies. Host a book club or some other virtual activity that will also serve to satisfy those employees craving social interaction.

While connecting is courteous, it also shows a genuine interest that can be the foundation of a great working relationship between you and your strongest performers. Great working relationships have been shown to improve collaboration, boost morale, and increase retention rates.


Motivation is much broader than we think

As an employer, you want to motivate your staff to perform to the best of their ability and remain a part of the company for as long as possible.

While bonuses are a short term way to encourage performance and retention, they’re not the only way and certainly not a long-term solution. Meaning in ones work, empathy, transparency, ability to make an impact and good intent are great ways to motivate one’s workforce.


If you do not have an HR partner, Tandem HR is happy to help. Give us a call today at 630-928-0510.